For the past three days, most national dailies have been carrying large advertisements brought out by I&B unit-Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP)-in ``public interest'' which focus on informing television viewers about their cable-viewing rights. However, according to the cable industry, the `Know Your Rights as Consumer/Cable TV Subscriber' advertisement is actually a veiled strategy to promote various Doordarshan channels on the prime band.
The ad states: ``Under the provision of Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, the general public/cable TV subscribers may lodge complaints with the district magistrates (DM), SDMs, commissioner of police or any other officer notified as authorised officer by the central/state government for purposes of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, in case of violation of any of the following provisions of the Act or Rules.''
Primarily, the provisions emphasise that every cable operator shall receive and re-transmit DD-I, DD-II, and a regional channel of the state on DD in his cable service in the prime band.
I&B official maintains that the purpose of the ad-campaign is to educate and inform people about their cable TV rights. If the regional channels are not shown on prime band, consumers have the right to complain to the notified government officials.
Clearly, coming at a time when Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj has gone on record saying that Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body, the ad-campaign has created a stir in the cable industry.
Some other provisions have also been listed in the ad which focus on ensuring quality transmission of DD channels. For instance, ``every cable operator shall take only satellite signals preferably digital signals of DD channels for re-transmission on their cable service by dish antenna''. Also, that cable operators should not transmit any channel on the cable service in the same frequency band in which DD terrestrial channels are being transmitted.
The advertisement also contains a programming and advertising code to be followed by the cable operators. Among other things, the programming code says that no programme should be carried in the cable service, which offends against good taste or decency; contains anything obscene; and attack on religions or communities. Similarly, the advertising code says that no ad should be carried which derides any race, caste, colour, creed and nationality; tends to incite people to crime, cause disorder, breach of law or glorifies violence or obscenity in any way.